Good morning from Sisters, OR. Yesterday I spent a lot of the day attending a virtual board meeting for Water Watch, which I proudly sit on the board of directors. During the meeting I had my computer set up at my tying desk at home and was gazing out the window at what could only be called a most glorious spring day. I watched Tina and the dogs cross the street to the woods, neighborhood walkers and joggers and cyclist go down the street in front of our home, and I wished I was out there too. But, there will be a lot of sunny days ahead, and despite the fact I am probably the worst board member ever, I am proud that the organization I am a small part of the fight for a different kind of “sunnier days” when it comes to rivers and streams in our fine state.
(by the way, this morning it is snowing ever so lightly in the Sisters area after a night of much needed and heavy rains. We will take it.)
There has been plenty of good and improving fishing in the area, so I will dive into the spots for you to plan for in the next coming weeks. This report should hold true and steady for Spring Break fishing plans and get you through the end of March.
That is another way of saying I am going to Belize on Tuesday and won’t be back until Sunday the 27th.
The Metolius in March is a wake up month for sure. We begin seeing a lot of positive things, probably mostly in the form of more bigger trout are done spawning and moving back to the middle and lower river to take up residence again after being up near the headwaters for a while, doing their thing. Jen Luke of ODFW told me at a breakfast meeting in November of 2021 that the February/March 2021 spawning surveys they conduct each year showed a record number of redd’s (redd’s are spawning nests for trout) and they were pleases to see this positive trend. We await the 2022 numbers but expect them to show a continuation of the positive trend.
I believe the USFS Woody Debris/Log placement projects that the Sisters Rangers District did has been a key to protecting juvenile fish and that is why the Metolius is seeing a good uptick in fish populations.
Remember the Upper River from Allingham Bridge up to the Headwaters remain closed until May 22.
Right now on any given day on the Metolius expect a decent to good mayfly hatch including both Blue Wing Olives (#18) and Cinygmula’s (#14-16 yellow bodied duns). Caddis are getting more active too, and we likely will see the October Caddis and Silver Stripe Sedge varieties for about another month, but adding many more smaller and more drab colored caddis over these next few weeks. Tan #12-16, Grey #12-14, Olive #14-16 ought to cover you well when matching pupa and adults.
This is a good time of year to strip smaller streamers for trout too. Sculpzilla and Pine Squirrel Minnows are favorites.
Euro Nymphing is likely your #1 fish catcher right now (maybe anytime), and we’ve been seeing good catches everyday using a variety of Jigs and Perdigons. Some of these nymphs are very clearly just impressions of food, and that the weight of the bead and color of the fly and bead combined are what the fish are hitting. Others are certainly matching the “hatch” of the what is in the drift.
Bull Trout catch rates remain good too. A lot of my good customers have been catching Bull’s Euro Nymphing, but we always stay strong to recommending a streamer on any given outing.
***Do you need some inspiration? Listen to our friend John Kreft on the Destination Angler Podcast this week talk about the Metolius. John is certainly one of the best anglers on the river, especially for hatch matching technical trout. https://destinationangler.libsyn.com/the-wild-scenic-metolius-river-with-john-kreft-riverkeeper-flies
The Lower Deschutes in the Maupin Area is definitely worth the effort. Most days we are seeing good action on a combination of nymphing tactics including indicators, tight line and drop shot.
Stonefly nymphs, caddis pupa, hares ears, walt’s worms, PT Soft Hackles, perdigons and zebra midges.
Small Streamers have been producing at times too. Even stripping streamers, which is something new to me on the Deschutes. I had a reader tell me about stripping a streamer in a back eddy with good success recently, and saw Amy from the Deschutes Angler was talking about that too. It is intriguing, isn’t it?
BWO #18 and March Brown #12-14 Mayflies will be your top hatches for surface action over the next couple of weeks. Keep an eye on tiny midges and enough caddis to possibly get some feeding going, but focus most on all that I talked about before that for the moment.
Don’t forget from now until April 21st we have a guide trip special for $100 off Lower Deschutes Floats and Troy is running Nena to Wapinitia any day you want to go.
The Fall River is fishing well, mostly with nymphs and streamers but keep an eye out on any day coming up for good afternoon BWO #18 and March Brown #14, Caddis Tan #14-16, Midges Black #20-24 Red #20.
Eggs, Walts and little Olive Perdigons have been excellent on the nymph rig.
Access is fine all over the river so it is way easier to get around now than even when I wrote our last report.
Last year at this time, Brad was out on the river and did very well skittering a Hippie Stomper. Sometimes trout like to work for snacks!
We are also running our $100 off guide trip special on the Fall and Crooked River from now until April 21st. It’s a great time to save a little dough and get out early and have a guide help you learn the water or teach you how to perfect this game we all love.
The Crooked River overall is still kind of off. I would say the low water coming from the dam has made a lot of the fish migrate down river to deeper areas. That means focus more on the lower reaches from Prineville to about MP 14 instead of from the Bowman Dam down to MP 14. When the water flows increase in about a month I am pretty darn sure the fishing will rapidly improve closer to the dam. We’ve seen this before. Keep in mind there is a of private ranches in the lower reaches. Don’t trespass. Be mindful and choose public water. It’s there.
Scuds, Zebra Midges, Frenchie, Purple Perdigons, Micro May, Skinny Nelson, Midge Winkler and even Micro Leeches are good to go now. Look for Midges to be the best dry fly option at this time but expect to see improving Blue Wing Olive hatches very very soon and make sure to have some Furminsy’s BDE Duns and Olive Knock Down Duns if you’re headed there any time over the next 6 or 7 weeks.
We are offering the spring special guide trip on the Crooked for $100 off the trip until April 21st. April will be a great time to take advantage of that savings on the Crooked.
The Middle Deschutes is on the upswing. Keep in mind for another month the water remains high until irrigation withdrawals regulate that flow from Bend down to Lake Billy Chinook. That means be careful wading, and watch for stronger flows than you might be used to at this time. Fish the edges and choose your water wisely. There are many safe places to access the water and we recommend a wading staff, especially around Borden Beck Park with the all the marshy areas you have to navigate to get to the river.
We usually start to see the 1st March Browns sputtering to a seasonal start about now. By the end of the month and into April is the prime for this wonderful hatch.
Blue Wing Olives can often be hatching just before the March Browns extending the dry fly time you may see on any given outing.
It is entirely possible to expect a Skawla stonefly hatch over the next 2 or 3 weeks. If skittering a foam stonefly dry #10 doesn’t make your heart beat faster that we can’t be friends. (wink)
Nymphs and Streamers will be super productive now and be getting better and better with longer and warmer days ahead.
Haystack is getting better and leeches are working for some good catches near the dam. Maroon and Black have been best this week. Balanced with an indicator or a regular bead head stripped on a Hover is good around the rocky edges of the reservoir.
I continue to hear good reports from the Powder House area of Prineville Reservoir all on leeches with a Hot Orange head. The water is murky and that fluorescent head helps the fish find the leech.
Lake Billy Chinook is off to a decent start for spring 22. The Metolius Arm opened almost 2 weeks ago and there are some reports of Bulls being caught, but the better fishing is in the Deschutes Arm. There you might see Bulls, Browns or Bow’s. Or Bass. It’s a curious place with good early season activity.
For the most part, you need a bigger boat with a motor, but there are some places near the Deschutes Ramp to access the water with a pontoon or drift boat but watch the wind and don’t venture far away from the ramp without a motor. That’s a big ass lake! Respect it.
Glad to see the OSP out checking boater safety and licenses this week.
No access yet to South Twin. We do love that little lake for float tubes, drift boats and small pontoon boats in the early season. It won’t be long.
I’m headed to go chase bonefish and permit at Turneffe Flats in Belize. We have a shop trip going with 22 people, nearly filling the entire capacity of the lodge. Our 16 anglers will have shots at a grand slam and many other species, while the non-anglers will enjoy snorkeling and scuba while we are out fishing. This will be my 8th trip to Turneffe since the day after my 40th birthday nearly 13 years ago. What a success story it is with the Turneffe Atoll Trust and the designation of the National Marine Preserve the bonefish have more than doubled in size and numbers and it is just such a wonderful place to be.
If you’re interested in future trips to Belize with us, drop me a line and I’ll put you on the list.
We are having a mega sale on some Sage Rods that have been discontinued for new models coming this spring. Sage Pulse and Sage X rods have been at 20% off but I am ready to really blow them out and we are going today to 40% off. I also have a number of Ross Reels we are going to discontinue so keep an eye out for that sale too.
Also, as of today the shop is open 7 days a week, so Sundays are back to 9am-4pm.
Be well and see you around the rivers and lakes soon!